Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time.


Substance abuse is a topic that is still surrounded by stigma, which can result in clinics not always receiving the support that they need. When Susan Mickelsen heard about the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ substance abuse clinic needing some new equipment, she decided to support the program with an act of kindness.

From Idea to Kindness Act

Susan Mickelsen is a Random Acts Regional Representative for the U.S. Great Lakes region. When she started planning her kindness act, she knew one thing: she wished to support the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI). LSSI offers many services, so Susan contacted the organization to ask how she could best support them.

Donations on the floor. Many cube-shaped plastic packages of socks and underwear

LSSI proceeded to tell Susan that the substance abuse clinic could use some help. Sadly, due to the stigma surrounding substance abuse, the clinic does not receive as many donations as other programs. Susan was told that the clinic used one outdated breathalyzer and that a replacement would be wonderful. The clinic also needed new socks and underwear. With funding from Random Acts, Susan was happy to provide LSSI with the needed items.

“There is so much stigma around substance abuse, even toward the people trying to get clean,” explained Susan.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois was established in 1867 and is one of the largest statewide social service providers. LSSI is a nonprofit social service organization that serves over 38,000 people annually, providing critical programs for Illinois residents. Services include foster care, mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment, affordable senior housing, residential programs, home care for seniors, and services that help families who have been impacted by incarceration.

Three people are standing next to each other. On the left stands a man with a blue shirt and a black medical masks. He is standing left to a woman with a azure blue t-shirt. To her right stands another man with a dark longarm-shirt. All three are wearing black medical masks and hold donations (socks and underwear) in their handsResearch and Delivery

The first item on Susan’s list was also the most important part of her donation: the breathalyzer. A breathalyzer is an electronic device for measuring a person’s breath alcohol content. Breathalyzers come in different types, but LSSI had provided Susan with the name of the model they preferred. Next, Susan went shopping for cozy socks and underwear. Now that Susan’s donation was complete, she was ready to deliver the items to LSSI.

After Susan and LSSI had decided on a time and date, Susan made her way to the LSSI. The staff was thrilled to see Susan’s donation. They thanked her and told her how much these items were needed and appreciated. The breathalyzers would be of great help to the staff, and the socks and underwear were something the clients would be happy about.

“I wish I could do more. I know LSSI does as much as they can for the clients but substance addiction recovery has to be so difficult, and I wish I could do anything to make it easier,” said Susan.

Did Susan’s act of kindness inspire you? Do you wish to support a program that does not receive as many donations as others? Head over to our Acts of Kindness Page to apply for funding. Do you need more ideas? Read some of our other Kindness Stories or contact your Regional Representative for guidance.